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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Colorado

Friday, August 9, 2013

Ute Mountain Ute Member Sentenced To Lengthy Prison Term For Assault With Intent To Commit Murder And Other Assault And Weapon Charges

DENVER – Ute Mountain Ute member Matthew Dewayne Jaramillo, age 30, of Towac, was sentenced earlier this week by U.S. District Court Judge Robert E. Blackburn to serve 660 months (55 years) in federal prison for assault with intent to commit murder and other assault and weapon charges, United States Attorney John Walsh and FBI Denver Special Agent in Charge Thomas Ravenelle announced.  Following his prison sentence, Judge Blackburn ordered Jaramillo to spend 5 years on supervised release.  Jaramillo appeared at the sentencing hearing in custody, and was remanded immediately after.

Jaramillo was indicted by a federal grand jury in Denver on April 30, 2012.  The grand jury returned a superseding indictment on December 3, 2012.  A jury trial was held by Judge Blackburn in Durango on May 13, 2013.  At the conclusion of that trial, the jury found Jaramillo guilty of 1) assault with intent to commit murder; 2) assault with a dangerous weapon; 3) assault resulting in serious bodily injury; 4) felon in possession of a firearm; and 5) using a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence.  He was found not guilty of one count, and a second count was dismissed by the prosecution prior to trial.  An additional count charged in the superseding indictment was determined to be a sentencing enhancement instead of an individual count.

On February 17, 2012, Jaramillo’s live in girlfriend purchased for him a .45 caliber handgun in Cortez, Colorado.  The defendant had been previously convicted of a felony and was therefore a prohibited person, and unable to purchase the weapon for himself.  Jaramillo wanted the firearm and went with her to pick it out.  After the purchase the girlfriend provided Jaramillo with the firearm. 

On March 6, 2012, the defendant and others were at a friend’s house on the Ute Mountain Ute Indian Reservation.  All four people present were using methamphetamine.  Jaramillo then started to become paranoid.  He pulled out the .45 caliber firearm provided to him by his girlfriend, and began pointing it at two of the people at the house.  He then began patting the two people down and asked them both “who was the snitch.”  Thereafter, Jaramillo shot Wilson Ben Jones, Jr. in the center of his chest with the bullet passing through his sternum and damaging organs, muscle and tissue.  The defendant then shot Jones again in the upper abdomen.  Jones dropped to the living room floor.  At some point, Jones tried to move and the defendant shot him again in the left hip.  The victim would lay on the floor in a pool of his own blood for nearly two hours before the EMT’s arrived. 

The evidence showed that Jones suffered numerous life threatening injuries which the treating surgeon described as fatal if left untreated.  Jones also had to have hip replacement surgery. 

On March 7, 2012, Jaramillo was spotted in Cortez, Colorado, and failed to obey police commands to surrender.  Instead, he led police on a foot chase through downtown Cortez.  He was apprehended after being tackled by an officer after a failed Taser attempt.  Once apprehended, the police removed a fully loaded .45 caliber firearm from the defendant’s person along with an extra loaded magazine and 23 loose rounds of .45 caliber ammunition.

“The lengthy sentence handed down today is wholly just and necessary in light of the mindlessly violent crimes Jaramillo committed,” said U.S. Attorney John Walsh.  “The 660 month sentence fits this defendant’s criminal conduct.  He will remain in prison for decades in order to protect the community.”

“This sentence reflects the ongoing efforts of the BIA and FBI to aggressively investigate violent crime on our Nation’s Native American reservations and seek justice for the victims,” said Thomas P. Ravenelle, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Denver Division Field Office.

This case was investigated by the FBI and the Bureau of Indian Affairs.  The Cortez Police Department assisted with the arrest.

Jaramillo was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney James Candelaria, chief of the Durango branch office.


Updated June 22, 2015